Russell Hal Langford

russell langford
Russell Hal Langford

Russell Hal Langford was born on November 14, 1925 in North Platte, NE. He died on May 28, 2022, in Springfield, VA and was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 63 years, Imogene Mary Ellenbecker Langford, on December 16, 2009. He is survived by four children: Stephen, Amy, David, and Russell, and by 7 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.

Mr. Langford was a long-time resident of northern Virginia having lived in Arlington, Vienna and McLean before moving to Greenspring Village (Springfield, Va.) in 2007. There he was active in the Fishing and Cribbage Clubs, formed and served as Chairman of the Greenspring Cornhuskers Club, served as president of the Greenspring Computer Club (650 members) beginning 2014, and served as a tutor at the West Springfield Elementary School. He also served as a docent leading tour at the headquarters of the United States Geological Survey (USGS or Survey) in Reston, VA.

Following graduation from high school in 1943 in North Platte, NE, Mr. Langford enlisted in the US Navy’s Air Station in Hutchinson, KS, he was transferred in 1944 to Washburn University in Topeka, KS taking regular college courses as well as Naval Science and Tactics. It was while at Washburn University he met his future wife, Mary Jean Ellenbecker. He was then transferred to Rice University in Houston, TX in the NROTC program and was commissioned as an Ensign in June 1946. He married his wife, Mary Jean, that same day and, after a brief honeymoon in Colorado, was sent to sea aboard a Landing Ship Medium (LSM) in the Pacific. That ship was almost sunk during a typhoon that hit Guam in September 1946. Ensign Langford was then transferred to another LSM operating in the Marshall Islands out of Kwajalein Atoll. In May of 1947, he was discharged from active duty and enrolled in the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE, where he graduated in January 1949 with a Bachelor of Science degree. In 1950, he was promoted to Lieutenant (jg) in the US Navy Reserve.

While attending the University of Nebraska, Mr. Langford served as a part-time Hydrologic Field Assistant at the United States Geological Survey’s (USGS) water quality laboratory in Lincoln, NE.

Following graduation, Mr. Langford accepted a full-time position with the USGS investigating the water resources of the eight-state Missouri River Basin and of Northern Minnesota. After ten years there, the USGS transferred him in 1959 to its Washington, DC headquarters as a Staff Assistant to the Director. He served as the Survey’s Safety Officer during the two-year assignment, following which in 1961 he was assigned as District Chemist in charge of the USGS’s office in Salt Lake City, UT with responsibility for water quality and fluvial sediment investigations in Utah, Colorado, and southwestern Wyoming. While there he supervised Pioneering studies regarding the dissolved mineral inflow to the Great Salt Lake, and the chemistry of the Great Salt Lake brine.

In 1966, Mr. Langford was transferred back to the Washington, DC headquarters of the USGS as Assistant Chief of its newly established Office of Water Data Coordination. He became chief of that office in 1968 and supervised the design of a National Network for Acquisition of Water Data that involved coordinating the activities of over 30 federal agencies that acquired or used water-resources information. During that assignment, he also supervised the development of a Manual of Uniform Methods for Acquiring Water Data, a catalog of information on water data, and a national system for delineating and codifying river basins in the United States.

Mr. Langford was promoted in 1980 to the position of Associate Chief Hydrologist of the USGS. During his five-year tenure in that position, he shared with the responsibility for a nationwide program ($280 million per year; 4,500 employees) of water research and investigations. He represented the Survey on the Souris-Red River Engineering Board of the International Joint Commission charged with addressing water-resources issues along the US-Canadian border in Montana and North Dakota. He also served as a US representative to meetings of the World Meteorological Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, and of the International Hydrological Program of UNESCO in Paris, France. Hydrology under the sponsorship of President Nixon’ s detent with China.

During his career with the Survey, Mr. Langford authored or co-authored more than 40 technical reports many of which were published in the Water Supply Paper series of the USGS.

The Department of the Interior awarded Mr. Langford its Meritorious Service Award in 1976 and its Distinguished Service Award in 1980. Following retirement in 1985, he served as docent leading tours of its headquarters building in Reston, VA.

Mr. Langford was a member of several professional societies, including the American Geophysical Union, American Water Works Association, American Chemical Society, Water Pollution Control Federation, and American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Mr. Langford had a life-long love of the out-of-doors, especially for fishing and hunting. He fished the Platte River in western Nebraska and Rocky Mountain rivers west of Denver, CO. He particularly enjoyed fishing the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean waters of Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and Florida after moving to northern Virginia. He hunted pheasant, prairie chicken, duck and geese in Nebraska and deer and elk in Colorado. He also pursued a life-long interest in birds of North America and kept lists of all the birds he observed over the years.

Mr. Langford was a student of early man in North America, especially the Clovis, Yuma, and Folsom cultures, and of the Indians of the Great Plains. He loved music, particularly classical music, and played percussion instruments in his high school band and orchestra, and in the Navy drum and Bugle Corps at Rice University. Above all he was a devoted husband and father.

Mr. Langford is survived by his daughter, Amy, of Leicester, NC, and by three sons, Stephen (Judy) of Warrenton, VA, David (Diane) of Hollywood, MD, and Russell (Susan) of Great Falls, VA. He is also

A memorial service to celebrate the life of Mr. Langford will be held at 11:00 AM, June13, 2022 , at the Chapel at Greenspring Village, 7420 Spring Village Drive, Springfield, VA 22150. Graveside services will be private at Arlington National Cemetery.

Hal was a gentle man and a gentleman. He had a close interaction and love for his family and friends. He always had an optimistic outlook on life.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in Mr. Lanford’s memory to the Greenspring Philanthropy 7430 Spring Village Drive, Canterbury Square, T level, Springfield, VA 22150 or to the Red Cloud Indian School, 100 Mission Drive, Pine Ridge, SD 57770.

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  1. I met Hal several times but the first time was while he was in Denver with one of his sons ( not sure who it was) and we ( Sari, Dale and me)all went to a Rockies game on a beautiful Sunday Fall day. He was always upbeat and he liked birds. Gretchen. Sari’ best friend.

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